Shane Lynn, founder of KillBiller, an app that helps people find the best mobile phone plan, is a self-proclaimed nerd.
The data scientist has a PhD in computer engineering and has worked with Intel Ireland and Deloitte in machine learning and data analytics.
He has spent time at the University of Technology in Sydney working on autonomous vehicles, or cars that can drive themselves.
But now he is “giving the start-up thing a shot”. Lynn recently gave up his job and started working on KillBiller full time. Before that, developing the mobile application was one of his hobbies.
“What started as a hobby after work for a bit of fun has turned into something people want,” said Lynn.
Shopping for mobile phone plan
The idea for KillBiller came from Lynn’s own experiences shopping for a new mobile phone plan on his lunch break.
“I went to every store and came back to my desk with a load of literature and a massive array of options . . . But I didn’t really know how many minutes I used, data I used, what network my primary contacts were on.”
Lynn says he took out a calculator and opened Microsoft Excel to compare the plans. He thought there must have been an easier way to compare them. After searching online, however, he realised there was not.
“It’s a nightmare comparing the plans. I couldn’t believe [the app] wasn’t built already,” he said.
Lynn quickly realised why. The plans are complex, and the data pulled from people’s phones varies widely. He said the calculations required for the app were a challenge and a lot of work.
Lynn was happy to dive into the technical work full time. He and his team of two other people, including user interface expert Ciarán Tobin, are also “learning the ropes” of entrepreneurship.
“We tend to get stuck into the code, and you need to develop the business. We have a tendency towards the tech side of things, but there’s no point building an amazing product that no one knows about . . . We’re making sure we don’t fall into that trap.”
Lynn is balancing the technical work with other roles the start-up requires, including social media management and meeting with clients. He says it is a great mix of jobs.
KillBiller is an early stage company that originated at the Dublin Launch48 start-up weekend in 2013. Lynn says the tech start-up scene is an exciting, energetic place to be at the moment.
The company went through Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme, which “got the cogs turning”. Lynn decided he wanted to do “one thing right rather than 100 things okay”.
KillBiller now has a six-month plan. The company will shift its focus towards investment, among other things.
“We’re planning out where we want to be in six months rather than just letting it happen – what we want the product to look like and how many customers we need to have,” he said.
Another six-month goal is to have a grasp on the Irish market and to become well known as the go-to place to compare mobile phone plans in Ireland.
Lynn is also planning a preliminary product launch in the UK offering similar services. “It’s quite scalable, and we can adjust the technology easily for different markets,” he said.
Uniquely tailored KillBiller analyses people’s mobile usage patterns and works out the best available phone plan for them. The app takes details of the calls, messages and data a customer uses and calculates exactly how much they would spend on each plan available from Irish mobile operators.
No two people have the same usage patterns, so all results are uniquely tailored to each user.
Lynn says the app is the first of its kind for use in the Irish market. It works on any Android smartphone and is available now in the Google Play Store.
The KillBiller team is working on its iPhone version, which Lynn hopes to launch later this month.
“I think it’s something people will actually want because it’s rock solid,” he said.
“This is exactly how much you will spend. It gives you a concrete answer and finds the best deal personalised to you because there are loads of deals, and not every deal is suitable to everyone.”
KillBiller is a finalist in the AIB Start-up Academy. For more information, go to killbiller.com.